Friday, March 13, 2015

“The Sunshine Cat' by Kamala Das: Summary and Analysis

The Persona’s Feeling of Complete Disillusionment

 The persona in this poem describes her sexual experiences with her husband and with other men, and expresses her feeling of complete disillusionment with all her sexual partners. The persona is most probably Kamala Das herself; and she tells us that, though she had originally loved her husband in the hope that he would love her too, she no longer loves him because he proved to be a selfish man and a coward. Her husband did not love her at all and did not even make use of her as a sexual partner in the right manner. Her husband showed himself to be a keen and relentless observer when, in sheer desperation, she acquired other lovers and went to bed with them.

The Persona’s Failure to Win the “Love” of Any of Her Sexual Partners

 It was her disgust with her husband which drove the poetess to have extra-marital love –affairs. But even these other men, with whom she slept, proved to be most disappointing because of their selfish attitude towards love-making. She did her utmost to excite some genuine feeling in those other lovers by clinging to their bosoms on which there was a thick growth of hair; and she clung to their bosoms as if wanting to hide her face in their hair. Those lovers were younger than she herself, and she tried to make them forget everything expect the act of love-making. But each of them told her that he could not “love” her though he could be “kind” towards her. Thus even they provided her with no real satisfaction, and she could only shed tears over her disappointment. She was not even able to enjoy any sound sleep because of her disappointment with those lovers. She wept so profusely that she could have built walls with her tears, walls to hold her like a prisoner.

Her Husband’s Cruelty to Her

The poetess’s husband was so cruel to her that he used to lock her in a room containing books every morning and used to unlock the room only when he returned home in the evenings. A ray of sunshine fell at the door of that room; and this ray of sunshine was the only company she had. That ray of sunshine looked like a yellow-coloured cat; and that was the poetess’s only companion. Time passed; and, when winter came, the sun’s ray lost its brightness because of the cloudy skies. The sun’s ray was now reduced only to a thin line, as thin as a hair. And the poetess herself had now become so emaciated and thin because of her chronic depression and despondency that she felt herself to be half-dead and, therefore, no longer an object of sexual desire on the part of any man.